Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to James Pyle for submitting this week’s photo.
“Step on a crack…break your mother’s back!”
Daisy heard the superstitious chant from her older cousins and believing them to be wise beyond their seven years, took care to avoid the cracks in the garden walkway. It was not always easy, especially when Mommy called to come inside for hot cookies and milk.
Inevitably, Daisy forgot to be careful. As soon as she stepped, the ground felt different under her Buster Browns. Peering downward, Daisy began to shriek. Certain her daughter had been stung by a bee, or worse, her mother rushed from the kitchen.
“Daisy, what’s wrong!” her mother cried. Daisy pointed to her foot and mumble a few words about breaking mommy’s back.
Relieved, her mother gathered Daisy in her arms. “Nothing bad will happen when you step on a crack,” her mother assured her. “Come on. I have hot cookies for you.”
Daisy wiped her eyes and followed her mother to the kitchen, no longer careful where she stepped.
As night approached, a grisly light emitted from the widening cracks in the garden path. Long, grayish fingers grasped hold of the edge. Daisy’s mother was wrong. Dreadful things do happen when you step on a crack.
This story is based on the old superstition that cracks in the pavement were portals to the underworld, and by stepping on a crack, you released the demons that lived there, bringing bad luck.
As soon as I walked in the door, Mom demanded to know where I had been. I didn’t want to tell her Jimmy and I stopped to have a coke at the corner store because that would lead to a range of questions about where I got the money and a series of more lies.
I told her had stayed after school, to help my teacher. I regretted the words as soon as they left my month.
Let’s go see Aunt May.
The old woman living at the end of Main Street wasn’t really my aunt. It was a title given her out of respect for her longevity. I never knew her true age, but her leathery gray skin screamed of ancientness.
As I said, I knew I was in trouble because Aunt May was the town lie detector. One look at you with those piercing green eyes and the secrets of your soul were exposed.
I didn’t need to think about my decision. I knew the facts would come out, one way or another. I saved us both a trip to the end of Main Street and told my mom everything.
Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short 200-word story inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by Eric Wicklund.
Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?
The year was 1969. A lot going on that year. Richard Nixon took the oath of office as the 37th President of the United States and Neil Armstrong leaves the first human footprint on the moon. A new counter-culture took shape with Woodstock and the Beatles break-up ended a musical era. It was a year of unbelievable atrocities, of Charles Manson, the Vietnam War and My Lai.
And for me, 1969 was the pivotal year between childhood and teenage. It was the year I turned twelve. Read more ›
Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Back in the day, before bad Cholesterol, good Cholesterol, and Triglycerides, there was bacon grease. Bacon grease just makes things taste better and no Southern household south of the Mason-Dixon line would be without it. People are so health-conscience today that bacon grease typically goes in the trash, if bacon is let in the kitchen at all. But when I was growing up, the grease from the frying pan went straight to an old Crisco can sitting on top of the stove and used in just about every dish where a little oil was called for.
My favorite breakfast using bacon grease is what Grandma called ‘egg toast’. The recipe was simple: take a couple of whole eggs (yes, you have to include the yoke) and beat them you were scrambling eggs. Then, dip a couple of slices of Wonder White Bread (was there anything else?) in the mix, coating both sides. Slap the bread in the sizzling pan of bacon grease, frying on one side until golden brown, and then the other. Serve it up hot and it was the best thing in the world. Some of you might be saying, “hey, that’s nothing more than French Toast”, and you would be almost right. I didn’t realize there was anything called French Toast until I was an adult. I actually thought egg toast was some strange dish my Grandma made up. Poor Southern folks ate lots of strange meals. Granddad liked to mix cornbread in buttermilk and call it dinner. They also ate brains and eggs, which is too awful to describe. On those nights I was usually given an option of a Banquet frozen TV dinner. Fried Chicken was the best.
I don’t have any special memories tied to egg toast. It was just breakfast. Its one of those comfort foods it served my own family. I call it French toast now and my daughter puts pancake syrup on it, but the rest of the recipe is the same. It reminds me of a simpler time, of being a kid and eating this great tasting food, and wondering what the rest of the world ate for breakfast.